Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy 40th Anniversary to Little House on the Prairie!

Happy 40th Anniversary to Little House on the Prairie! This now classic family television series first aired on March 30, 1974. The pilot episode featured the Ingalls family (Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura, and Carrie) leaving the Big Woods of Wisconsin and settling in Kansas. Viewers also met their neighbor, Mr. Edwards, who would be seen from time to time once the family moved to Walnut Grove in the first episode of the first season of the show.

To celebrate, there will a cast reunion in Walnut Grove this summer. For details, visit For more details on the history of the show, visit and go to the TV Adaptations tab.

Thank you to all the talented actors who brought the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder to life for her fans. While many have gone home to their Creator, we will never forget the joy these stories brought us; a joy that we now share with our children and grandchildren.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

He's Not the Right Man: LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

He's Not the Right Man

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Laura shuffled her feet along the dry, rutted road toward school. She stared out in front of her, but she didn't see any of the goings on around town—she was too consumed with her own thoughts. Even the petty argument her brother Albert and sister Carrie were having alongside her could not pull her away from the mix of sadness and disappointment swirling around her head.

She had asked Almanzo to supper last night. But he was too busy. Out of spite, she invited his younger brother Perley Day, who was visiting while figuring out where to travel next.

Perley Day accepted. It was a very nice evening. He talked all about his leaving home at an early age and traveling the country surviving by his wits. Her pa sure seemed to like the younger Wilder boy.

But it was Almanzo that Laura wanted to spend time with.

"Right Laura," Carrie whined, tugging at her sister's sleeve.

Laura yanked her arm away, frustrated over the distraction.

"Right?" Carrie said again, her eyes eager and full of anticipation.

"Yes, you're right," Laura answered curtly.

Albert dug his heels into the ground. "You don't even know what she asked you."

Laura's eyes rested on Albert and then on Carrie. She was too angry to care what they were arguing over. "I don't have time for this. I'm going inside to study." She pounded up the steps to the schoolhouse, her dinner pail swinging violently on one arm and hitting the door as she slammed it shut behind her.

"Oh Laura," said Miss Wilder, "I didn't expect to see you so early. Isn't there a baseball game going on outside?"

Laura felt the heat of embarrassment staining her cheeks. Lifting her nose in the air she flicked her braids back, but seeing the kindness in Miss Wilder's face deflated her anger. "Well…uh…I figured I would study for the history test tomorrow."

"I'm glad to see you being so conscientious"

Miss Wilder turned to the blackboard and continued to write down the assignments. Laura slid onto the bench and opened her book, pretending to find history fascinating. She heard the smooth flow of the chalk along the blackboard as she tried to focus her thoughts away from Almanzo. Her heart raced as Laura heard the click clack of  boots strolling down the aisle.

Miss Wilder slipped into the bench in front of Laura. "So, did you have a nice evening with Perley Day?"

Why did she have to bring that up? "Yes. He told us about the many places he's been."

"He certainly has traveled far for such a young man. Perley Day had fun too. All he did was rave about your mother's cooking…and your fine company, of course." Miss Wilder touched Laura's arm. "I'm glad you finally found someone your own age."

Laura squinted, trying to figure out what her teacher was getting at. "I'm sorry Miss Wilder, but I really don't know what you mean."

Miss Wilder pursed her lips before settling her eyeglasses back on the bridge of her nose. "Well, I'm certain Almanzo doesn't know you have a crush on him."

Laura glared at her teacher, not even believing they were having this conversation. "I don't have a crush on him," she said firmly. It wasn't a lie. She loved Almanzo. It wasn't some childish crush.

Miss Wilder smiled as she leaned in closer. "I didn't mean anything bad by it, Laura. It's just…I know you're awfully fond of Almanzo."

"We're friends, Miss Wilder." Laura hoped the pounding of her heart would not give her secret away. "We like horses and farming and we like talking to each other. That's all there is to it."

Laura closed her book and stood up, not sure she could continue speaking about Almanzo as if she had no feelings for him at all. "Perley Day is nice too, but we don't have a lot to talk about. Actually, he spent most of last night talking to Pa."

"Perhaps, I misunderstood." The clock on Miss Wilder's desk chimed the hour. "Oh, look at the time." She dashed off to ring the school bell.

Laura dropped back in her seat. Her heavy sigh filled the room. Hopefully her words had been enough to keep Miss Wilder from assuming too much. The last thing she needed was Almanzo thinking she had some ridiculous schoolgirl crush on him.

Determined more than ever, Laura sat up tall in her seat. "I'm going to make Almanzo see me as a woman one day," she said out loud. She heard racing footsteps on the stairs outside. "You just wait and see. I'll show all of you."

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

A fascinating novel of family and culture mingled with mystery and bound to the story of an American icon is what you'll find in Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen.

After obtaining her PhD in American literature, a jobless Lee Lien finds herself heading home to the Chicago suburbs to work in her mother and grandfather's café. Before long, Lee's tense relationship with her overbearing mother leaves her hoping to break away from a life she always seems drawn back to. When her older brother comes home only to quickly disappear again, he leaves behind a gold-leaf brooch from their mother's past in Vietnam that stirs up the forgotten childhood dream of an American reporter who visited her grandfather's original café in Saigon in 1965. Based upon a passage from the Little House books, Lee is convinced the reporter must have been Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Could this pin link her family to one of America's most famous pioneering legacies?

Pioneer Girl dissects the intersection of culture and family. It puts under the microscope the life of immigrants and how they assimilate into American culture. But this is only part of Lee's story: the tense relationship with her mother; knowing she is not the favored child--that is reserved for her older brother, the one who should take over the family business and care for their widowed mother in her golden years; the way Lee's mother clings to the old ways while Lee as a child struggled to fit in as a Vietnamese-American; and Lee's overwhelming desire to break away while not knowing exactly what she wants or where she belongs.

Woven into Lee's family story is the well-known tale of the Ingalls family, pioneers whose journeys were chronicled in the classic Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that Lee enjoyed as a child. Convinced the gold-leaf brooch her mother brought to America with other treasured possessions was originally left behind by Rose Wilder Lane, Lee's search brings her through library archives and Laura Ingalls Wilder museums; and a surprise discovery leads her to San Francisco where Rose one lived in an attempt to connect past and present.

Though I believe having a love for the Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder, or the Little House on the Prairie television show adds a greater depth to the enjoyment of Pioneer Girl, anyone will be captivated by this masterfully told, heartrending and inspiring story of one woman's journey to find her place within her family and to boldly embrace the future. Well-drawn characters, rich descriptions, and the exploration of physical and metaphorical frontiers help to create an outstanding novel you will remember long after you've read the last word.

Highly recommended.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult (February 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670025097
ISBN-13: 978-0670025091

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.